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Three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine 'neutralises' Omicron variant

By Rajan Nath -- December 09, 2021 9:21 am -- Updated:December 09, 2021 10:13 am

A preliminary laboratory study demonstrated that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine neutralize the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529 lineage) while two doses show significantly reduced neutralization titers.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE announced results from an initial laboratory study demonstrating that serum antibody induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) neutralise the Omicron variant after three doses.

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Data indicated that the third dose of BNT162b2 increased the neutralizing antibody titers by 25-fold compared to two doses against the Omicron variant; titers after the booster dose are comparable to titers observed after two doses against the wild-type virus which are associated with high levels of protection, reported Pfizer and BioNTech press release on Omicron variant.

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Sera obtained from vaccines one month after receiving the booster vaccination (third dose of BNT162b2 vaccine) neutralized the Omicron variant to levels that are comparable to those observed for the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike protein after two doses.

Sera from individuals who received two doses of the current Covid-19 vaccine did exhibit, on average, more than a 25-fold reduction in neutralization titers against the Omicron variant compared to wild-type, indicating that two doses of BNT162b2 may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant.

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However, as the vast majority of epitopes targeted by vaccine-induced T cells are not affected by the mutations in Omicron, the companies believe that vaccinated individuals may still be protected against severe forms of the disease and are closely monitoring real-world effectiveness against Omicron, globally.

More robust protection may be achieved by a third dose as data from additional studies of the companies indicate that a booster with the current COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech increases the antibody titers by 25-fold, added the release.

According to the companies' preliminary data, a third dose provides a similar level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses against wild-type and other variants that emerged before Omicron.

-PTC News

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